The Grand National is one of the biggest horse races in the world. But that doesn’t mean that everybody who watches it is familiar with all of the racing jargon.
When the race is underway and the commentator is flying through the horse positions, it’s difficult to even fully understand what he/she is saying.
So if you’re not up on your racing shorthand, we’ve got a quick guide to what everything means.
Every year in the Grand National a large number of the runners will get pulled-up. This essentially means that the jockey has decided the horse can’t keep going and so he takes it out of the race. This is the best way that a jockey can take care of the horse.
There are a number of reasons for it. Firstly, if the horse has made a mistake at a fence and isn’t quite right, the jockey won’t take any chances. He/she wants to ensure the horse is fit and well and won’t do any further damage at the next fence.
If the jockey feels that the horse isn’t running well and can’t go the distance it will get pulled up. Tiredness, not racing well, potential injury and general distress are all reasons for a horse to be pulled-up. It’s in the best interest of the horse and is never a bad thing.
What Does SP Mean?
SP is shorthand for ‘Starting Price‘. This is used in betting terminology and refers to the odds the horse goes off at. So on the day of the Grand National a horse may have very long odds. Magic Of Light started the morning of the race in 2019 at 125/1.
Over the course of the day, as more and more people put bets on, the bookmaker readjusts the odds. This is a complicated formula that balances the bookmaker’s books so that they never suffer too much of a loss, no matter which horse wins.
As more people backed Magic Of Light as a long odds outsider, the scales tipped and the bookmakers had to cut her odds. She eventually started the Grand National on odds of 66/1. And that is why her ‘SP’ would have been 66/1, even though earlier in the day she was on odds of 125/1.
Some bookmakers offer promotions on the SP. Say you backed a horse at odds of 20/1. However, the bookmaker guarantees the SP. By the time the race starts, your horse is at odds of 33/1 and wins. The bookmaker will pay you at those odds rather than the 20/1 when you placed the bet originally.
What Is A Nap?
We’ve all seen professional tipsters giving their ‘nap of the day’. But what does Nap mean? This is when the tipster doesn’t give a tip for each race but instead picks a horse he thinks has the best chance of winning overall.
Most race meetings have six or seven races in the day. Picking a tip or a winner from each is very difficult, no matter how good you are. So a tipster will give a ‘nap’ instead. That means he/she will pick one horse from the whole day’s racing that they think will win.
It is their most confident selection of the day and can be any horse from any race.
What does RPR Mean?
RPR means Racing Post Rating. Every racehorse in the UK and Ireland has an official rating (OR). In the UK that rating is determined by the British Horse Racing Authority. The database is updated weekly and takes into account how well a horse has run.
At the time of writing this, the top five highest-rated chasers in the UK are Cyrname (176), Altior (172), Santini (172), Clan Des Obeaux (171), and Lostintranslation (171). The highest-rated basically means they are the best horses in training in the country.
Where the RPR differs is that theirs is compiled by their private form handicapper and is adjusted for that day’s weights. Especially in handicapped races, the RPR is based on a horse’s racing ability in relation to the weight carried.
They look at how horses have run against others previously. If one horse has outrun another and they are competing again on the same weight, their RPR will be higher than the OR. And that’s why on a card the two rating systems are sometimes different.
Hopefully, those explanations have helped you to understand racing terminology a little bit better. And when you tune in to watch the 2021 Grand National, you will know exactly what the experts are talking about and when horses have been pulled up!